Enermax Ostrog GT Review

red454 - 2013-04-10 19:20:38 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: red454   
Reviewed on: May 7, 2013
Price: $74.99

Enermax Ostrog GT Introduction:

Enermax has been around since 1990. It first made its mark in the power supply market but has since gained ground in other markets such as keyboards, fans, CPU coolers, and cases. In February of this year, Enermax released the Ostrog GT, which is an advanced version of the popular Ostrog case. This new style of case joins the Enermax Mid Tower lineup which includes the Fulmo, Hoplite, Clipeus and Staray. The Ostrog GT comes in four styles: a black case with either black, white, red, or blue trim. Today we have the ECA3280A-BR, which has the red trim. This case enters the ring at a suggested retail of $74.99. For this $74.99 price point, you get a chassis full of special features such as space for up to 12 fans, including 220/230mm fans, liquid cooling support for the latest 280mm radiators, removable HDD cages, top IO support, and a clear side panel that allows you to show off those fancy innards, not to mention the industrial good looks so popular right now in case design. Is this case from Enermax, the Ostrog GT, the right one for your next build? Let's take a deeper dive into what Enermax is bringing to the table with this mid tower design.

Enermax Ostrog GT Closer Look:

The box is fairly standard with no fancy graphics. Just the facts on the side of the box, which is fine, because as long as the box protects the contents, the outside doesn’t have to "wow" me. Actually, the outside does have a feature that got my attention: side handles. The box is just large enough and heavy enough to be a little awkward, and the integrated handles really are a nice feature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The excitement flows as I slice open the packing tape along the top. I get the box opened and start to pull the case out. It comes out a little and then stops. I push it back in and pull again. Nothing. I pull a little harder and end up with a handful of the Styrofoam end cap. Ah – those side handles that were so useful were now working against me. Pull them out of the way and now the case easily pulls out of the box.  

 

 

The protective end caps are beefy and appear to be able to take some rough handling. The plastic bag keeps the case in pristine condition. No matter how old I get, opening the box on a new case is still like Christmas! The side window is covered inside and out with a thin peel-off protective plastic cover.  I got the packing and plastic bag off, and the overall finish and paint are consistently high quality.

Enermax Ostrog GT Closer Look:

I have always liked the combination of red and black, so it is hard not to fall in love with this case. The front is about 215mm wide and has a nice symmetrical black plastic fascia. The front mesh is a fine pitch perforated metal painted black – the outer trim is the same material and painted red. There is a lot of surface area up front and the twin red LED 140mm intake fans (included) make good use of it. Air flows through the black mesh – the red is only decorative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ostrog emblem makes its presence known front and center.

 

 

The rear of the case offers 8 expansion slots and a 9th vertical slot off to the side, along with 3 grommeted holes for external water cooling. The power supply mounts at the bottom of the case and there is a 120mm rear fan included. All three of the included case fans use 3 pin connectors.

Now here is one part I like: deep side panels. The left panel has a large smoked plastic window. The window is contoured to closely fit the opening. The window is solid and there are no provisions for mounting any side fans. The right panel is solid and Enermax went the extra distance and made the panel with an offset depth of 32mm which is about 1.25 inches. Finally, there is plenty of room for cable routing. So many times the side panel is so shallow that closing it is like trying to put your pants on the day after Thanksgiving. Not with this case - it is nice to be able to close the panel easily and not mash cables against the back of the motherboard. Both side panels close smoothly with no gaps or uneven bulges. There are two removable thumbscrews that secure each panel to the case frame. I prefer the screws that are retained in the panel, but this feature is not a big deal.

 

 

As for the side fans – or should I say, lack thereof – I initially thought this might be an issue for adequate cooling, but I was proven wrong – more on that later. The top of the case is interesting. Toward the back there is a heavy honeycomb mesh that will allow for plenty of air flow. There are mounting provisions for a single 200mm or 230mm fan, two 120mm fans, or two 140mm fans. It will also support a 240mm or 280mm radiator, although I had some difficulties with my Corsair H100. I will talk more about that issue later. Be careful not to put any drinks or small items on top that can spill or fall into the case and cause a nice fireworks display. The bottom of the case has four round feet with soft rubber inserts and allows a 12mm (½”) air gap under the case. If you mount your PSU for air intake from the bottom, there is a removable air filter, although you have to tip the case up to remove the filter for cleaning. There is also a similar removable filter for an optional 120mm bottom fan, but in order to mount the optional fan, you need to relocate the SSD cage, and there are provisions for alternate SSD cage mounting.

 

 

A little closer to the front is a small recessed 50mm X 140mm pocket roughly 12mm deep with the ENERMAX logo embossed on the bottom. This area is perfect to store some USB flash drives. Finally there is a bulkhead that has two USB 3.0 ports, a microphone and headphone jack, and then two USB 2.0 ports. The USB ports are easily accessible and are flat on the top of the case. I prefer this mounting position over ports on the front panel face. I am always paranoid about damaging a USB device that is sticking out. However, being on the top, they may be prone to collecting dust and dirt.

Then there is a red LED for HDD activity, and a blue LED for power. The red HDD activity LED is of a nice intensity. As for the blue power LED, let’s just say if you live by the coast, your computer may double as a light house. Ok, I exaggerate, but the blue power LED is rather intense and can be a bit distracting at night – especially if you put your computer in sleep mode. Finally there are the power and reset buttons and a dedicated LED control button for the front fan LEDs. I do like the way the switch for the fan LEDs is a nice distance away from the power and reset buttons. It is not much fun reaching over in the dark to turn on the fan LEDs and get a nice reboot.

 

 

The large 140mm front fans are very quiet, even at full speed which is about 1200rpm. I have to say that the front fan LEDs look very nice. The red glow is smooth and really highlights the front of the case in the dark.

Enermax Ostrog GT Closer Look:

Inside the case we have two hard drive cages that each hold four drives. The top cage is easily removable (for long GPU clearance) without using any tools. The bottom cage is riveted in place. Both cages have mounting holes for 120mm fans on two sides, so you could have 4 fans cooling your hard drives. Two of them would be on the left side blowing air at your GPU and PSU, while the other two mount on the rear of the cage and would push air into the 32mm deep side panel which will help cool the back side of the motherboard. Above the HDD cages are 3 bays for optical drives, and Enermax uses its patented SlideIn ODD design for easy optical drive installation. The optical drive certainly slides right in, locks into position, and is easily unlocked for quick removal. 

There is a larger opening in the motherboard tray to allow access for the easy installation of CPU cooler mounting hardware.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandwiched in between the PSU and the lower HDD cage is the cage for two SSDs. It is secured to the bottom of the case with four thumbs screws. There are three possible locations for this cage: in the stock location (on the floor between the PSU and lower HDD cage), on top of the lower HDD cage (which requires the top HDD cage to be removed) or on the floor of the top HDD cage. Mounting your hard drives in the cages is fairly simple, although the included side guide hardware seems a little flimsy. After I attached the plastic side guides, I attempted to slide the drive into each of the six slots. Some slots were tight, others not so much. However, I suppose once I put a drive in, it typically stays there for a long time. I think that one-piece hard drive trays would be a better choice.

 

 

 

The entire front fascia panel detaches for easy cleaning. Exposed are the pair of 140mm LED air intake fans the help provide the airflow through the Ostrog GT. For this case, they light up in red to accent the front grill. The LED fans feature an LED on/off feature so you can control when the fans are lit.

 

The accessory bundle is held inside a box containing miscellaneous hardware including a few zip ties for wire management, a bag of screws and standoffs, a couple of fan/Molex connectors, a motherboard speaker, and a couple of Enermax logo Velcro cable binders. It also includes a total of 16 disk drive guides, enough to mount 8 hard drives.

 

The ASUS Maximus V Formula motherboard is considered an extended ATX, which means it is about ½” wider than a standard ATX. How much trouble can ½” cause? Well, we are about to find out. Where this will present a problem is usually where the SATA cables plug into the motherboard. If your SATA ports are perpendicular to the board surface, this will be no problem, but the ports on the Formula are on the side, which required the upper hard drive cage to be removed. I could have stuffed the cage in there, but it would push on the cables and put stress on the ports, which is always a bad idea. That half inch caused one more problem, well, inconvenience. There are two nice rectangular cable access slots on the right side of the motherboard tray. The 24 pin power cable fits nicely though either of the slots, but the extra overhang of the extended ATX partially covers those access holes. Fortunately, this is remedied by the removal of the upper hard drive cage, which leaves plenty of room for the 24 pin power cable. This is something to think about if you are considering an extended ATX board. With the top hard drive cage removed, installing the motherboard was easy.

While Enermax states that the case supports radiators up to 280mm, I couldn’t get the H100 to fit properly. There is indeed room for the radiator, but one of the fans (in a push configuration) interfered with the onboard mPCIe Combo card and the 4 pin and 8 pin power plugs at the top of the board. I had to offset one fan slightly to clear the power plugs. One of the smaller Corsair water cooling solutions would certainly be fine in this case as would any air cooling solution. The CPU power sockets (4 pin and 8 pin) are at the very top of my motherboard. I like to run as many cables behind the motherboard tray as I can to keep the clutter out of the action. Usually you can snake these additional cables behind the board and up to the top, but I decided to mount the PSU with the intake fan up (pulling from inside the case), which made the cables just a little short and stretched a little tighter than I like, so I ran them out in front, which adds to the visual clutter. 

After a build, I will usually change the cable routing a few times, experimenting with different routings, so I am sure in a few weeks I will make some adjustments.

Enermax Ostrog GT Specifications:

 

Model Name:
ECA3280A-BR
Dimensions:
485(D) X 244(W) X 495(H) mm
Material:
SECC 0.8 mm
M/B:
Micro ATX ~ ATX
Power Supply:
ATX 12V (optional)
5.25" Bays:
3
3.5" Bays:
6
2.5" Bays:
2
Hot Swap Dock:
NO
Front I/O:
USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2, Mic, HD/AC’97 Audio
Fan Speed Control:
NO
Fan LED Control:
1 switchable LED mode (off / on) for front fans
Expansion Slots:
8 + 1 Vertical
Water Cooling Holes:
3
Wheels:
NO

 

Enermax Ostrog GT Cooling:

 

Enermax Ostrog GT Features:

 

 

 

 

Information provided by: http://www.enermaxusa.com/case_eca3280.php

Enermax Ostrog GT Testing:

Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, and motherboard during idle and load phases. The load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs and 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor 1.21.0. Please note that each case is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Case:

 

 

 

 

 

I was quite surprised at the airflow through this case. For the most part, it beats my current Corsair 500R by 3 degrees C, yet remained comfortably quiet even under a load. Also, it quickly returned to idle temps after ending the tests. Now I am a big proponent of fans, particularly side fans. You just can’t have too many fans. I like the way you can pull outside air in and direct it right at the motherboard and graphics card. Many cases now have vented side panels with provisions for side fans, so I was a little disappointed with the solid side panel. This case relies on the flow from front to back and the way the top is vented, clearly there is plenty of air flow.  So as much as I like side fans, having them probably wouldn't make much difference here.

Enermax Ostrog GT Conclusion:

I have to say that the Enermax Ostrog GT is in fact a really nice case. The fit and finish are top-notch. The red accent trim (on this model) really sets this case off, and when the sun goes down and you hit the switch for the fan LEDs, it comes alive. I can't walk past this case without taking a look and admiring the red and black contrast - it is just such an attractive combination, well executed by Enermax. There are many cooling options, and perhaps if the case was a half inch taller, my H100 would be right at home. The lack of space for the H100 was probably the only real disappointment, and despite the fact that my extended ATX motherboard was a bit on the wide side, the motherboard does fit. Sure, I had to take the upper HDD cage out to keep the SATA cables from binding - but with three hard drives, I only needed the lower cage. And really, I am sure that any other mATX or ATX board would have given me no trouble at all. The extra deep side panels keep cable routing frustrations to a minimum, and the top mounted USB ports keep your flash drives out of danger.

I was surprised at how well the temps were kept under control, as the Ostrog GT kept the internals cooler than my 500R.  Those twin 140mm front fans do their part in feeding the case with a good supply of cool air. Even so, the Ostrog GT comes with the capability of using up to 12 fans inside the chassis for an insane amount of airflow.

Pricing is comparable to other cases with similar features and is currently available at Newegg and Amazon.  If you are planning on an exotic liquid cooling system and multiple graphics cards, you may opt for a larger case. However, if you are building an average-sized gaming system that keeps getting better looking each time you walk by, you can't go wrong with the Ostrog GT. 

 

Pros:

 

Cons: